I would like to start this harrowing tale of animal encounters by saying that I live in North Vancouver. This area is about 15 minutes from the downtown core of Vancouver. However, our home is about half way up a mountain, a mountain that we share with several woodland creatures.
We have two dogs, they are approximately the size of two jumbo Kleenex boxes. Their true size in no way affects how they perceive themselves. In their tiny dog minds, they are more the size of two large ponies. As far as they are concerned, they rule this ‘hood. They do not like sharing their yard with woodland creatures. Squirrels in particular drive them insane. It is clear to me that as puppies they were taunted by cruel and vicious squirrels. The mere hint of a bushy flickering tail is enough to cause them to hurl themselves against the fence in what I suspect they think looks very vicious. If they weren’t the kind of dogs that could be carried in a hand bag I am sure this would be true.
One fine day I heard them barking up a storm at the neighbors fence. I went out to beat them into silence. As I bent down I could peer through the slats of the fence. I saw a black form. My first thought was “oh, it’s our neighbor’s cat.” This was followed by my second thought “that cat sure looks awfully big.” Then all those years of watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom paid off and it occurred to me “that is no cat.”
I stood up. The bear stood up. We faced each other, very neighborly across the fence about six inches apart. For the record, bears have foul breath. The advice they give is if you encounter a bear you should back away slowly. They say you shouldn’t run, as prey runs, and you don’t want to put any ideas in their head. I’m sure this is great advice- I just didn’t follow it. I bent down, swooped a barking dog under each arm and ran full tilt into the house screaming like a junior high school girl at a BackStreet Boys concert.
The bear, very slowly, hauled himself up and over the fence. Then he sat down in my backyard eating the apples from my neighbor’s tree. He looked quite relaxed. I put a panicked call into animal control. Their advice. “Are you inside? You are? Ok, you should stay there.”
The dogs meanwhile continued to bark saying the dog equivalent of “Lemme out here. I can take him!”
What animal have you never wanted to see up close and personal?
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